Boost your creativity by writing at your local coffee shop
If you like to hang out at a café to write, you may have instinctively figured out that the ambient sounds of a coffee shop can inspire creative twists and revelations for your work in progress.
It turns out that a modest level of background noise creates enough of a distraction to encourage more imaginative thinking, according to research led by Ravi Mehta of Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.
Researchers created a noise environment similar to that of a roadside diner or a noisy mall and tested people’s creativity at different levels of background noise. The research revealed that a relatively noisy environment (70 decibels) triggered the brain to think abstractly and generate creative ideas.
The trick is to find the right place where the music isn’t too loud and the blender that makes your caramel Frappuccino isn’t grinding to close to your ears.
While I generally like to write in a quiet place, the low-level din of music and conversation is a change of pace that adds energy and focus to my daily practice. I also theorize that the people at the cafe serve as my body double, a physical and emotional anchor that helps me feel more centered.
So the next time you’re wrangling with a piece of dialogue or a plot twist, you may want to head over to your neighborhood café.
For more details about the study, “Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise on Creative Cognition,” learn more at the University of Chicago Press website.
Thanks to The Atlantic.com for inspiring this post.